Saturday night TV was rubbish. I was flicking through the channels looking for something to watch when I happened upon the boxing on Sky. I’d seen all the trailers for the fight during the week but as the Scottish boy didn’t stand a chance, and I hate to see one of my own take a beating, I had decided not to subject myself to more mediocre Scottish performances and had let it slip from my mind. But as I flicked through the channel, I saw that the fight was being held in the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow and that renewed my interest somewhat.
It was the muli-tattooed boy from just outside Glasgow (Coatbridge), Ricky Burns, the boxer, against the world champion slugger from Puerto Rico, Roman Martinez. The odds in favour of the champion were overwhelming and it looked justified when the fight started and within a minute, Burns was dumped on his backside by a swinging right hander from the champion. It looked all over but Burns managed to hang on until the bell.
Burns came out for round 2 and despite a few lucky punches landed by the champ, the boy from Scotland beat the Puerto Rican around the ring, and repeated the performance for the next 4 rounds. The crowd, totally biased as you would expect, were going wild. The stupid cut-throat gestures made by Martinez every time he saw Burns in the fight preliminaries, and indeed in the ring itself, had obviously riled Burns – he was showing the square jawed champion that you don’t do that to a boy from Glasgow.
But in the 7th, Martinez again landed some swinging right handers, and a vicious upper cut nearly floored the local hero. It looked like Martinez was back in the fight and despite Burns having won more rounds, the bookies, amazingly, still had the world champion as the favourite. Was this testament to the Peurto Rican’s staying power? Glasgow, no Scotland, collectively held its breath.
Credit to Burns though. He took the 8th comfortably, but in the 9th, Martinez again had the local boy staggering around the ring after a series of punishing combinations. Were the bookies correct?
Burns came out in the 10th and proceeded to box the world champion into a state of walking unconsciousness. The 11th was reasonably even with Burns dancing and boxing his way out of trouble until the end of the round when Martinez managed to land a blow with that swinging right hander - a lucky punch, but one which again nearly floored the challenger.
One last round. Martinez was desperate with wild swings sapping what little energy he had left. Blood was pouring from his mouth as it had been for most of the fight and he looked a beaten man but a world champion is never more dangerous than when on the brink of defeat and the whole of Scotland willed Burns to keep out of reach of the wild punches aimed in his direction.
The bell went, the fight was over and ……………. we had a new Scottish world champion, and I was hoarse. What a fight! The local boy done good!